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From buses to road sweepers, military to construction plant vehicles, vehicle noise is an issue in the commercial sector whether it is new developments in powertrain technology or hybridisation or electrification of vehicles.

While many of today’s trucks make 10 times less noise than those built over 40 years ago, road traffic noise remains the most widespread cause of environmental health problems across Europe.  According to the European Environment Agency, almost 70 million people are exposed to excessive long term average road noise levels (>55db), the level recognised to pose a serious risk to health by the World Health Organisation. 

A number of factors contribute to traffic noise, including the road surface and speed- dependent aerodynamic noise, but most urban traffic noise originates from the vehicles rather than the tyres.  The noise standards for commercial vehicles are particularly significant as they cause half of the road noise-burden across Europe.

Emissions pollution has driven changes in engine design such as hybrids and lean engines. However, high running temperatures can result in these engines being noisier.  Even electric vehicles have different noise characteristics which need controlling to gain market acceptance as they often have devices for energy storage that generate noise intermittently themselves .

Tackling noise at source

The vehicle engine is an understandable source of noise, and when you combine this with the powertrain, there are a large number of interlinked components that produce sound.  From rattles to sound pressure waves, these sounds include vibrations and ‘surface radiation’, which is the low-frequency sound produced by a surface as it pulsates, like a drum. The ‘mechanics’ of noise mean that as the sound level of any individual component is reduced, others become more noticeable – which means that all components must be worked on together to actually reduce engine (and vehicle) noise. This is also true for other noise producing vehicle elements. After reducing powertrain and exhaust sounds, other noises may become noticeable such as aerodynamic resistance or previously unnoticed tyre/road noise.

An additional benefit of reducing noise at source is that driver and passenger noise will be significantly improved. Further improvements to sound quality in-cab can be gained by addition of sound insulation and absorption behind or under the interior trim.

A quieter life

Having manufactured acoustic and fire insulation products for more than 40 years, SIDERISE offers a large range of tried-and-tested product enhancements specifically developed to the broad spectrum of requirements in the commercial vehicle sector.

Offering high insulation and absorption performance as well as fuel, oil and chemical resistance, these sound reduction and damping treatments have been expertly designed for the most challenging environments. 

At under 10kg/m3 density, SIDERISE foams are class leaders in weight- saving and by combining with other layers, excellent and targeted acoustic performance can be achieved at minimum thickness. These foam products can also be used in public service vehicles (PSVs) for thermal insulation leading to weight savings of the order of 100kg per vehicle, whilst improving thermal and acoustic performance. The addition of viscoelastic and polymeric heavy layers to these foams can produce high insulation and vibration damping performance.

Paul Handscomb of SIDERISE said, “Our noise control materials can be quickly installed on the production line or workshop and are independently tested to give our clients complete confidence in product performance.”

Fire protection

Recent awareness of the risks of vehicles in tunnels has also required materials with increased fire resistance and protection from ingress of potentially flammable fluids. Devices to burn off particulates and catalytic convertors generate significant heat in engine areas.  In addition, the increased containment by undertrays or close cladding to an engine requires higher temperature resistance materials. 

SIDERISE solutions will provide both integrated noise reduction performance of up to 20dB and are also compliant with Euro 6 legislation and tested to the toughest flammability regulations.  Able to withstand up to 800°C and 30 minutes fire protection, these non-combustible solutions offer exceptional thermal and fire safety performance.

With traffic noise affecting greater numbers of people and faced with tough regulations, the importance of taking a holistic approach to noise control on commercial vehicles has never been more apparent.  Through a wide range of independently tested noise control treatments, SIDERISE will be able to quickly and professionally reach the optimum solution, each and every time, and for the most challenging environments.  

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